Minimalist indie filmmaker Drake Doremus is the genius who turned an expiring work visa into a cosmic romantic tragedy in 2011’s Like Crazy. That’s a movie about the way the heart moves on regardless of favorable circumstances (it will bloom for those looking for the late Anton Yelchin’s finest hour).
To call the director’s sophomoric latest a deep disappointment is gentlest diplomacy. Equals is one of those white-roomed antiseptic sci-fi movies, a tired Orwellian fantasy that you want to smudge with your dirty shoes. The scenario—about an emotion-free utopia successfully maintaining its communal calm—feels shockingly out of step with today’s democracy-run-amok catastrophes.
Call it a sign of Kristen Stewart’s evolving sense of interiority as an actor that you never once believe she’d be a quiet worker bee living in a buttoned-down society. Way too much going on there. Equals could be her least persuasive performance to date—and remember, Stewart has played a soldier at Guantanamo and a girl who dates a vampire. Naturally, an intense young man (Nicholas Hoult) notices her, and they have a doomed Logan’s Run–style fling. While watching them, you won’t feel a thing.
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